Robert L. Solso

Robert L. Solso is Professor and Head of the Cognitive Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.

  • The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain

    The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain

    Robert L. Solso

    How did the human brain evolve so that consciousness of art could develop? In The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain, Robert Solso describes how a consciousness that evolved for other purposes perceives and creates art. Drawing on his earlier book Cognition and the Visual Arts and ten years of new findings in cognitive research (as well as new ideas in anthropology and art history), Solso shows that consciousness developed gradually, with distinct components that evolved over time. One of these components is an adaptive consciousness that includes the ability to imagine objects that are not present—an ability that allows us to create (and perceive) visual art. Solso describes the neurological, perceptual, and cognitive sequence that occurs when we view art, and the often inexpressible effect that a work of art has on us. He shows that there are two aspects to viewing art: nativistic perception—the synchronicity of eye and brain that transforms electromagnetic energy into neuro-chemical codes—which is "hard-wired" into the sensory-cognitive system; and directed perception, which incorporates personal history and knowledge—the entire set of our expectations and past experiences. Both forms of perception are part of the appreciation of art, and both are products of the evolution of the conscious brain over hundreds of thousands of years.

    Solso also investigates the related issues of neurological and artistic perception of the human face, the effects of visual illusions, and the use of perspective. The many works of art used as examples are drawn from a wide range of artistic traditions, from ancient Egypt to Africa and India and the European Renaissance.

    • Hardcover $53.00 £41.00
    • Paperback $32.00 £25.00
  • Mind and Brain Sciences in the 21st Century

    Mind and Brain Sciences in the 21st Century

    Robert L. Solso

    The approach of the new millennium encourages people to stop and think about where we have been and where we are going. In these essays, all but one written for this book, many of those who have helped to shape the fields of neurocognition, cognitive science, and psychology give their thoughts on the past and future of the science of mind. Ernest R. Hilgard's foreword presents "A Personal View of 20th Century Psychology: With an Eye to the 21st Century." Some of the essays offer specific ideas about what the future may hold, while others prefer the grand overview. Some touch on the philosophical, social, and scientific implications of the science of the mind; a few border on whimsy or science fiction. All are written to be understood by the informed layperson, as well as professionals and students.

    The authors of the essays describe their visions of what might be, not what is determined to be. A major goal of the volume is to encourage scientists and scholars to consider alternative worlds—to help us to avoid many of the problems of the past and to create a healthier and more humane future.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $80.00 £55.95
    • Paperback $53.00 £41.00
  • Cognition and the Visual Arts

    Cognition and the Visual Arts

    Robert L. Solso

    In this first systematic study of the connection between the new cognitive psychology and its importance to art, Solso reflects on the long relationship between humankind and art, observing that "mind and art are one."

    An experienced and prolific writer, Robert Solso has a gift for simplifying sometimes difficult concepts in science. Here he brings a refreshing new approach to the psychology of art, synthesizing research from a vast collection of data on how humans perceive, process, and store information and applying it to the viewing and interpretation of art. In this first systematic study of the connection between the new cognitive psychology and its importance to art, Solso reflects on the long relationship between humankind and art, observing that "mind and art are one." A major theme of this book, in fact, is that the clearest view of the mind comes when we create or experience art, a reverse of the usual view of art and cognition. The illustrations cover a wide range of examples, including African, Asian, and prehistoric art, but focusing primarily on Western art. The treatment of cognition applies a blend of the standard information-processing model, brain function, and neural networks. Cognitive Psychology series

    • Hardcover $45.00 £34.95
    • Paperback $42.00 £33.00